Is the ‘Go Woke Go Broke’ Crowd Winning? A Look at the Numbers

partners statue in front of cinderella castle disney world go woke go broke
Credit: Reuters/Canva/Disney

Disney has alienated many of its fans in recent years. The phrase “go woke, go broke” has trended on social media, and people everywhere have vowed boycotts. It started with former CEO Bob Chapek and his fumbling of Disney’s statement in regard to the Parental Rights in Education Act (dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by critics).

Bob Chapek Disney go woke go broke

Credit: Disney

Disney, as a “woke company,” was brought to the forefront of people’s minds in 2022. That’s when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that prevents Florida teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with young children in elementary school. Disney was initially silent on the matter, but an outcry from Cast Members prompted then-CEO Bob Chapek to condemn the bill, which he did clumsily. What followed was a Corporate America vs. the Political Machine feud for the ages. DeSantis vowed retribution (and got it), and Disney vowed to sue (and is doing so).

Since then, supporters of the Parental Rights in Education Act have been acutely aware of Disney’s political agenda. Disney hasn’t kept their agenda secret. One Disney Channel producer stated she was putting gay stories everywhere she could and no one was going to stop her.

Gina Carano Is Off 'Mandalorian' Amid Backlash Over Instagram Post

Actress Gina Carano on the set of “The Mandalorian”/Credit: Disney+

The firing of Gina Carano was also a glaring indication of Disney’s political aims. Whoopi Goldberg was merely suspended for very much the same thing. Both compared current events to the Holocaust. Only one was fired.

Ever since these events (and others), right-leaning Disney fans have vowed to boycott. The big question is, are those boycotts working? The honest answer is: It depends. It completely depends on which numbers you look at.

Parks revenue is up as a whole. Disney is not hurting in the Parks department. International Parks, especially, are soaring. Disneyland in California remains strong. Walt Disney World in Central Florida, however, is struggling. Poor attendance has hurt its bottom line. Is it because of the boycotts? There are other possible explanations, but many think boycotts play a large role.

Disney movies have taken the hardest hit. Disney’s four most recent flops have cost the studio nearly $1 billion. Before that, films like Strange World (2022) and Lightyear (2022) suffered at the box office. Elemental (2023) seemed set to become a flop but managed to pull through in the end. It has become more common for a Disney movie to fail than succeed. That isn’t what you want to be known for as a studio.

Whether The Walt Disney Company’s financial woes are the result of boycotts and protests also depends on who you ask. You’ll find that the answers, much like the boycotts themselves, are divided along party lines. Those party lines also tend to split those who favor the Parental Rights in Education Act and those who oppose it. Those who oppose it say that the weather has kept people from Disney World, and poor marketing has kept people out of the theater.

Do these facts hold water? Perhaps. This year, the Orlando area saw the hottest 4th of July in 25 years (though it is worth mentioning that 25 years ago, Disney World did not see a drastic dip in attendance or revenue due to heat). Disney films, on the other hand, have a harder time being excused. Disney has spent a MINIMUM of $100 million per film solely on marketing. Ads, corporate tie-ins (think Happy Meal toys), and news articles about Disney’s films have been just as pervasive as ever.

The side that supports and is boycotting claims it is Disney’s political agenda that is sinking them–that they are a silent majority and that alienating them in favor of louder (but smaller) groups was a mistake. They say that their money is what has kept The Walt Disney Company in business, and without it, the company is doomed. Do the numbers support that? Not exactly. Disney is still profitable, but it is clear that they are not nearly as profitable as they were before. Is that enough to make them back down? Time will tell.

In this case, neither side is winning. Disney is hemorrhaging money on films that are failing and propping up a resort that was once the company’s cash cow. Fans of Disney on both sides of the debate miss out on good content because less money equals less production, less investment in the parks, and, ultimately, an inferior product.

One has to wonder, where does it end? Will Disney back down and remove the agenda from the company? Will they double down and depend on those fans who haven’t boycotted to keep the company going? Will boycotters eventually give up and begin spending their money with Disney again? Your guess is as good as ours, but stay tuned right here as we bring you all of the latest updates to this ongoing saga.

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.

One comment

  1. Hi! I’m part of the Disney Boycott. Just want to let you know that I don’t feel like I’m losing out… except for not buying a Winnie the Pooh Sweater that I thought was cute… they don’t produce content that I want to see. They are producing content that I DO NOT want to see. And I don’t want my kids to see it either. I’m not losing out on not spending money on stuff I don’t even care to have in my life.